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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review December 14, 2012/ 1 Teves, 5773

I still like Ike

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Ordinarily, the news that a long overdue memorial to an historic American leader has been put on hold still again would come as a disappointment. But if you've seen the innocuous design for an Eisenhower memorial in the nation's capitol, the news may come as a relief -- and a welcome opportunity to start all over and try to get it right this time.

Innocuous doesn't begin to cover the emptiness, the blahness, the pomo meaninglessness of Frank Gehry's design for this "monument" that is the opposite of monumental. It's just a few saplings around what looks like an empty neighborhood playground in any interchangeable midwestern suburb circa the 1960s. A cross between a no-place, to borrow Walker Percy's perfect phrase for so much of America's forgettable urban landscape, and the non-style dubbed the International Style -- an enclosed blankness.

Oh, yes, there are a few disjointed quotations from the real Eisenhower clunked onto the design like random afterthoughts to lend it a bogus authenticity, and a statue of the accomplished general, under-estimated statesman and smiling national leader as ... a Kansas farm boy.

I'd call the design Disneyish except that it lacks even that much character. Believe it or not, this disconnected, spaced-out blob of a little park is supposed to have something to do with honoring an American who was first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen in his time. Which was the 1950s, the Age of Cool, when understatement was in fashion, displays of emotion were out, and political rhetoric was supposed to be as slim as the neckties.

But this design for an Eisenhower "memorial" betrays no memory of either the Supreme Allied Commander in the European Theater or the president who ended another war, the forgotten one in Korea, and kept a Cold War from getting hot. And who had the good sense not to get in the way of an American economic revival that would jump-start the world's after the Second World Devastation.

Where is that Eisenhower in what is supposed to be an Eisenhower memorial? Where is the Ike we remember? There's not a trace of him.

Here was a general who could get prima donnas like Patton and Monty and DeGaulle working together, using their talents just when and where they were most needed and not otherwise. Then he would come home to reunify a bitterly divided country and deal with the Joe McCarthys and Orval Faubuses and J. William Fulbrights so deftly and effectively it looked as if he were doing nothing at all.

Ike knew when to let actions speak louder than words. As on June 6, 1944, aka D-Day. And on September 25, 1957, when the 101st Airborne appeared again, this time at Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., and in American history. Ike also knew when and how to say absolutely nothing at length, and let there be peace. In that sense, he was a worthy successor to American soldier-statesmen in the mold of U.S. Grant and George Marshall.

Murray Kempton, a now almost forgotten newspaper columnist of the Eisenhower Era, wrote exquisite prose that revealed a fine, discriminating mind. (Yes, even if he was a newspaper columnist, hard as that is to believe in these post-William F. Buckley days.) And when Ike's critics called the old general inarticulate, Kempton couldn't resist pointing out that he was "inarticulate like a fox."

There was something irresistibly simple about both Eisenhower the general and Eisenhower the president. Or maybe he just appeared simple, a much more valuable political talent. It disarmed even his critics. He could boil down both strategic and political issues to their core, reach a conclusion, and then stick with it. How rare in the fickle world of high-stakes, ever-fluid politics. Call it constancy of purpose.

Unlike today's headliners, the man had an instinctive aversion to the pretentious, the glib, the clever, the theatical. No one would ever have mistaken him for some kind of flashy intellectual. It was said that when his speechwriter gave Ike a first draft, the first thing he did was go through it and strike out any phrases that might prove memorable. It's a wonder Emmet Hughes' warning about the dangers presented by a growing "military-industrial complex" survived his boss' editing; it may be the one quotable phrase Ike ever committed in a presidential address. Then there was that broad, trademark grin of his, which almost guaranteed that everybody would like Ike. And, more important, trust him.

Eisenhower does present a difficult question for historians: Was he better at cutting straight through some Gordian Knot, as in his panic-free response when the Germans broke through the Bulge in Allied lines? Or at defusing crises as the post-war leader of the free world? One who led so unnoticeably in his avuncular way that no one seemed to notice he had avoided World War III. There's no hint of any of that in this memorial without a memory.

This amnesiac memorial is the product of Frank Gehry, who has uglified the world's urban landscape from Bilbao to Seattle with designs that look like botched abdominal operations, what with their dissected intestines and tubes twisting in every direction. Something out of a surgeon's recurring nightmare. At least now he's produced something completely unmemorable, which for him is a step up.

Now the Great Gehry has designed a "monument" that doesn't have enough character even to be ugly. It could be one of those mass-produced, pre-fabbed Edward Durrell Stone designs of the 1960s with screens to mask its nothingness. This design for an Eisenhower "memorial" perpetuates and magnifies the essential mistake of the FDR memorial, a collection of politically correct effigies of Franklin D. Roosevelt at different stages of his life. A kind of park full of big dolls for us little people to wander around in. Unlike the great monuments -- the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument -- today's mod memorials diffuse the viewer's attention rather than focusing it.

The best of recent memorials -- Maya Lin's perfect Vietnam War memorial -- transcends the bitter divisions over that terrible sacrifice of lives, and unites us all in common sorrow, reverence, and gratitude for these honored dead. Yet even that work of art and memory had to be cluttered at the edges with some needless statuary and a little flagpole or two.

There is no design so simple and moving that some unimaginative, literal-minded critics won't find a way to disimprove it. Usually by adding completely superfluous curlicues. Or maybe a group of realistic sculptures to break up its abstract flow. At the Vietnam Memorial, tens of thousands of light-filled American names float forever on its sloping walls, whose dark surface reflects the images of the living who are just passing through like so many ghosts-to-be.

At least there's no way to disimprove this design for an Eisenhower memorial. Because there's nothing there to make better or worse. It's in the spirit of a spiritless age. And of an America that has grown suspicious of greatness or any national celebration of it. No wonder the Eisenhower family objected to this empty but expensive design, which is cluttered with symbols and at the same time manages to say nothing, nothing at all.

The major-domo of this whole, mishandled project is one Rocco Siciliano, a minor functionary in the Eisenhower White House who now is chairman of the commission in charge of planning this memorial. A fine Italian hand is the last thing one would associate with him; he's more a blunt instrument personified. Dismissing any objections from the Eisenhower family or anybody else, Mr. Siciliano announced: "I am one person who feels competent to say that he believes President Eisenhower would be most pleased as to what the present commissioners have unanimously accepted."

Goodness. It was clear enough that Chairman Siciliano was an insufferable little popinjay, but not that he was also in contact with the spirit world. Ike's son, Major John Eisenhower, could only describe himself as "astonished" at Mr. Siciliano's fatuous claim. But anyone familiar with both the pretension of bureaucrats and how little basis there is for it can't have been surprised, let alone astonished. The smaller and sillier the man, the bigger and stranger his claims. The commission in charge of the Eisenhower memorial seems to have found in its chairman the perfect un-Eisenhower.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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